Turntable Talk’s Top Ten Back-to-School Albums

This past year I realized how nice it can be to have a soothing and melodic album playing in the background while I’m doing school assignments like basic research or answering emails. I’ve wanted to share a few of the ones that I really love on here for a while, and now that it’s almost time to return to school, I figured I might as well now.

Feel free to comment your favourite, or chime in your thoughts about these!

10.) Bob Moses–“Bob Moses”

While this album kind of relies on the exact same dark, sparse and sophisticated to the point of it wouldn’t sound out of place playing in an upscale wine bistro for every song on it, it’s still entertaining and relaxing background noise for getting work done. And the vibe of the album, while one-dimensional, is pretty untouchably cool in the best way possible.

9.) Car Seat Headrest–“Teens of Style”

Lo-fi, strangely enough, can be quite relaxing with all of its production tricks and distortions while you’re working your way through a mountain of paperwork for school or emails. The amount of effect put on Will Toledo’s work on each song replaces the hard edge of “Teens of Denial” with a more mellow and laid-back brand of modern-day college rock.

8.) Glass Animals–“How To Be a Human Being”

Oh man oh man oh man! This album was just the kick of fun my stressed student self needed to come out after my draining Freshman year of college. And when I’m not sneaking all the songs on it onto playlists for my house’s date parties, I actually kind of enjoy having a mellowed out playfully percussive track like “Youth” or “Season 2 Episode 3” playing as I’m on my way home from a long day at the reading room.

7.) New Order–“Power, Corruption and Lies”

New Order is one of the most versatile bands I listen to. Their music is perfect for hanging out and dancing with friends, working out or getting cracking on a list of assignments. This album does a great job of blending organic instrumentation with the signature synth sound that became the New Order calling card.

6.) Alt-J–“An Awesome Wave”

For about the first month of college this was one of the only albums I’d listen to in the library. It’s laid back enough to not be distracting, but fascinating in its composition and musicianship enough to hold my attention over its entire runtime and earn a worthy title as a solid debut. To this day, “Taro” is still one of my favourite songs to get work done to (and I still affectionately call it my “Library Song” more than I call it “Taro”).

5.) LCD Soundsystem–“Sound of Silver”

I always knew LCD Soundsystem was a band you put on if you wanted to dance, but it turns out this record-with its synthetic tricks and keyboard based riffs-is actually pretty good motivation to start in on a long to-do list, too. Just add a cup of green tea and this record from your favourite NYC weirdos goes from a trek through impromptu dance parties to a quality listen for editing and writing.

4.) The War on Drugs–“Lost in the Dream”

What an appropriate album title. This hour-long record is a dream sequence of beautifully crafted and layered guitar melodies over hypnotic drums and vocals that are just so easily listenable that it almost makes you forget you’re suffering through schoolwork while it’s on (even though there’s literally a song in the track listing called “Suffering”).

3.) Tame Impala–“Currents”

Like most twentysomething college students, I fell madly in love with this album when it came out in 2015. Two years later I still can’t get enough of the bouncy upbeats of “The Moment,” the lush and colorful swirls of “Let It Happen” and the moody and majestic strains of “Yes, I’m Changing.” Album of my Freshman year hands down. Album of my constant state of answering emails hands down.

2.) Interpol–“Turn on the Bright Lights”

Probably one of my favourite debut albums ever, this gem of an album from Interpol manages to be the most intoxicating and forever intriguing slice of moodiness and post-punk indie rock revival that I need in my day to day life. Also, Carlos D’s bass work on here is some of my favourite bass playing on an album, ever.

1.) The Strokes–“Is This It?”

I’ve wanted to write about this album for forever on here, and honestly, it would do me some good to just do a full post on it while I still have time before school. The songs all rely on such tight and concise, catchy riffs, flowing effortlessly into each other to create a backdrop of a New York City weeknight walk just as dusk is falling. The shortness of each song works to its advantage too–it’s the perfect amount of time to work its way into your mind, kick around for a few verses and then end with a tight finish and a surely stuck chorus in your head.

What’s your go-to back-to-school album? Or if you’re out of school, what songs do you like to put on when you need to get your day-to-day tasks done at home or work?

Thanks for reading, and God bless.

-Turntable Talk


2 thoughts on “Turntable Talk’s Top Ten Back-to-School Albums

  1. Nice list, love a lot of these too. I remember I spent one summer just listening to ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’ — ‘Age of Consent’ what an opener. Agree with ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ don’t think they ever matched the genius of that, ‘Antics’ was great but lacked something of the debut.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Age of Consent’ is such a jam. Something about that opening riff just calms me down so much when I hear it. Kind of like ‘Ceremony,’ which is my second favourite New Order song (after ‘The Perfect Kiss’). I agree very much with your thoughts on ‘Antics’; there’s some definite bright spots on there (‘Evil,’ ‘C’mere,’ ‘Next Exit’) but it can’t compete with the mysterious and tight vibe of TOTBL.
      Thanks for your comments!

      Liked by 1 person

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